Child Care Regulations in New South Wales
Are you planning to get into child care or update your qualifications for this nationally important industry? Don’t let your efforts go to waste by being aware of what you need to gain formal recognition in New South Wales.
Each state has specific regulations for Australians pursuing a child care job or running their own child care centre. Unfortunately, it can be a pain to keep track of them since they tend to change significantly over time. You can read all 178 pages of the most recent legislation yourself on the NSW Government website.
But, to save you time, we’ve outlined the major requirements you now need to become a child care worker and provider in New South Wales. Get your career on the right track by complying with these terms set by your local government.
NSW Child Care Worker Requirements
Higher qualifications for all educators of children at preschool age and below was put into effect last January 1, 2014. You must now hold or be working towards a recognized qualification such as the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care to be counted among a child care centre’s educators.
You may still apply for a care centre position without this, but hiring managers are likely to prioritize those with formal qualifications. This is because there is a minimum number of educators every centre-based provider must have.
You also need additional training courses to be eligible for higher positions such as early childhood teachers, centre managers and supervisors. In fact, holders of a Diploma or Advanced Diploma make up the largest group of child care managers across the country at 41.5%.
How do I know if my existing qualification is valid for NSW?
If you hold another kind of certificate, diploma or degree, make sure to check its validity by browsing the ACECQA qualification list here. Courses and training programs that aren’t included in the official list may still be approved if you apply for individual recognition.
The Working with Children Check
Starting on April 1, 2017, you will also need to have the new Working with Children Check to be able to work as a child care employee or volunteer. This is true whether you will be applying for a new job by that time or staying in your current one.
The good news is, getting the check is a simple process that can be done as early as today. Applications are conducted online and it usually only takes a few days to complete.
To get yours, simply complete the form at the Working with Children website and visit a government service center with a valid ID. There is an $80 fee for paid workers, but volunteers can get it for free. You can read about the entire process here.
Rules and Requirements for Centre Based Services
Providers of centre based education and care, including long day care, must now make sure that they have enough employees with various levels of qualifications. The ratio of educators to children being cared for depends on their age group:
At least half of all workers in a child care must also have or be working towards higher qualifications like the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care. Another staff requirement is the presence of an Early Childhood Teacher for a certain amount of time depending on the centre’s size:
A Nominated Supervisor should also be named from among each centre’s employees. Only those who have 3 years of relevant experience, a Diploma level or Early Childhood Teaching qualification and have gone through a Child Protection course are eligible to become Nominated Supervisors.
Summary: Regulations and You
Today’s stricter rules and regulations affect both child care workers and service providers in New South Wales.
If you manage your own child care centre, this means you now have to start upgrading your services. For job seekers, this means hiring managers are looking for candidates with the right qualifications and experience.
Child care is an essential industry that is always looking to improve for the benefit of professionals and families alike. Make sure you don’t get left behind by complying with Australia’s new policies today.
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